Attack on Titan 2 Review – Doubling Down on Titan Action
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platform: PlayStation 4*, PC (Steam), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
*The PS4 Pro Version was used to review this game
Thank you, Koei Tecmo for providing a review copy!
Attack on Titan 2 is the sequel to the 2016 game adaptation of the popular anime series. In this iteration, Omega Force tries to provide a new perspective on the story by introducing an original character to play as instead of the original cast from the show. Does this new perspective change up the experience or are they just retreading old ground? Today, we dive in and take a look.
Attack on Titan 2 covers the first and second seasons of the popular anime, though it is mostly a rough retelling of the story from the first game. You play as an unnamed recruit who happens to be present at every major event. It’s a nice change of pace from the first game. However it ends up being very boring for having the choice of one character during the games main story mode. This is especially disappointing after experiencing the predecessor’s small but diverse character roster. Even if the characters in the first game mostly played the same, the dialogue and aesthetic differences made the experience at least a little refreshing. The added character adds a few weird inconsistencies and minor plot holes in the story. On top of this, the character is silent, and contributes nothing to the conversation in any major story scene. There are fun side conversations that involve you learning a bit more about your fellow comrades but most end up feeling like the same two to three jokes being told on a loop. The season 2 content is the main draw of the game for me. It did not have any prevalence in the original. Sadly, the extremely short length of the season two content compared to season one content only means that about 20 percent of the games story is “new” material. The fact that the series is currently ongoing, the ending is just as abrupt and underwhelming as the first game is.
In terms of the visual quality, this game is on the exact peg the first one stands on. Almost nothing has changed graphically, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game’s menus have a nice aesthetic in tune with the world the characters live in and the motion blur was used surprisingly well. The character models are great and remained true to the show as one would hope. The particle effects are pleasant to look at and the performance is mostly stable with no major problems to report during my playthrough.
It would be extremely hard to replicate Hiroyuki Sawano’s iconic anime soundtrack for the game, but there was a pretty good attempt. None of the tracks stand out as fantastic by any means, but they aren’t bad either.” The various titan noises are just as creepy and sometimes hilarious as they are in the source material. Pleasantly enough, there are a surprising number of songs in the OST. It’s a very average soundtrack overall, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.
There are a good number of improvements to the gameplay from the previous iteration. One of the original game’s strengths was its extremely fluid and satisfying combat which is back in full force. New additions in the game include: a skill system that allows you to spend free time with your squadmates and have them teach you new skills to equip your custom character; new equipment to attack titans with such as molotovs and attack buffs; and the tower system feature. The tower system is easily one of the best things they’ve added to the game. It allows you to build support buildings once you’ve cleared out an area on the map which can grant item bonuses at the end of a battle, an extra hand in clearing out titans, or buffing your entire team with defense/attack buffs. Out of battle you can upgrade them at your camp with a new currency called, “Wings of Freedom”, which you earn for performing well in battle. Unlike the original version, it actually rewards replaying through old levels for a better score.
The singleplayer and multiplayer components of this game are packed to the brim with content, though maybe not new content. While the singleplayer content is mostly a repackaging and lazy expansion pack on the original game, the multiplayer feature has a ton of missions you can play with friends, with a small but explorable camp. The roster is vastly improved over the first, with an upwards of 37 playable characters compared to the previously playable 10 characters. Though they weren’t in the game at launch, a few fun versus modes that allow you to play as a titan were added free of charge. The main game’s story will take you anywhere from 10-12 hours and the multiplayer can take upwards of another 10 hours depending on what difficulty you decide to tackle. There are a few post completion game modes but they’re mostly new game+ or just higher difficulty modifiers.
Attack on Titan 2 is the very definition of “one step forward, two steps back”. While the gameplay is massively improved over the first and the soundtrack is mildly enjoyable, the awkward retelling of the first game’s story mode with the very little new content leaves a lot to be desired. The character roster is every fan’s dream, though you’re honestly better off just playing the first game which does them much more justice.